Sunday, 11 January 2015
Chapter 17 Season 2 – House of Cards Episode Summary 2.4
House of Cards Chapter 17 Recap: Raymond Tusk sends Remy Denton at the last minute to help gather votes for the entitlement reform not wanting its failure to derail President Garrett Walker from mending the conflict with China. Vice President Francis Underwood persuades Majority Whip Jackie Sharp to accept the help of Remy arguing that people are more likely to accede with both of them making the request. Frank, on the other hand, will induce House Representative Donald Blythe and consequently his supporters to vote for the entitlement reform. He only has two hours and seventeen minutes to do so.
Donald grudgingly meets with Frank and immediately declares the futility of Frank’s lobbying for he has no desire of agreeing to his request. Donald has lost confidence in Frank after he deceptively took over and revamped the Education Bill. The version that was passed in Congress is diametric to the one Donald drafted. The betrayal remains fresh in his mind. Donald vows never to make the same mistake twice. He formed a twenty-eight man coalition working to keep the integrity of the Democratic Party. The coalition will not consent to the entitlement reform that goes against the principles of the party. Frank could see that Donald’s resolve could not be broken. He informs his wife over the phone of the lost cause and the quarantine of the Capitol due to the white powder present in one of the mails sent to the Office of the Majority Whip. Meanwhile, Jackie and Remy both struggle to convince the Democrats to support the entitlement reform approved by the Administration. The backlash from AARP remains one of their concerns, but Remy assures them of having bought the AARP President’s accord with a $45 million endowment. This, however, will still not appease the senior voters whose eligibility to receive entitlements will be delayed a few years. Jackie elucidates the alternative, which is the immediate discontinuation of services. Nevertheless, the Democrats remain adamant with their disinclination to support the bill Frank Underwood crafted due to their distrust of him following the failure of the Education Bill whose political goal was to buy traction with the Republicans. Jackie plans to intimidate her colleagues into submission, but Remy advises against it. She follows his advice and inveigles her colleagues with complacence if they choose to withhold their support. She, however, entices them with the promise of defeating the Republicans and winning the support of the American people through a display of progress and solidarity. With only eight votes away, Jackie loses her gentility with two Congressmen who remain adamantly against the entitlement reform. Remy is aware of the needs and requirements of the two house representatives and advises her to bribe them for their votes. Unlike earlier that day, Jackie dismisses Remy’s advice and instead insults the two Congressmen. She makes it plain their scheme of withholding their votes for ransom and becomes confident of having won their votes with her reproach. Jackie declares of only giving rewards to those with good behavior. The two Congressmen will not gain favors from her if they vote against the entitlement reform.
Donald calls his wife, Marjory, on the phone to inform her of the quarantine. Frank senses trouble at home and learns that Marjory’s Alzheimer’s disease has worsened enough for Donald’s daughter, Molly, to take a semester off to care for her mother. Frank seeks to use the man’s vulnerability to win his support. Regrettably, Donald shrewdly perceives the deception. He, however, remains trapped with Frank Underwood for a few more hours as one of the tests from the powder-like substance comes up inconclusive. The quarantine and the evacuation of the Capitol proved propitious to Frank for it postponed the vote for a few more hours. Moreover, it allowed him to do Donald a favor. As Vice President of the United States, he was able to demand a means for Donald to speak to his mentally ill wife despite a block of all communication as part of the procedure to combat a security threat. In addition, it gives him a valid excuse to miss the joint interview with his wife. The HazMat crew manages to obtain secure two-way radios for Frank and Donald to use. Frank urges Claire not to wait for him and to do the interview alone. Later, he painfully listens to Donald speak to his demented wife who fails to recognize or remember him. The pitiful incident allowed Frank to exploit Donald’s vulnerability with insincere concern. He eases into the attack with an inquiry about the funding of research on Alzheimer’s, which he learns is grossly inadequate compared to the cost of care for the patients stricken with the disease. He also discovers that Donald tried to pass a bill that will help fund the research, but was opposed by their mutual enemy, Chairman of Appropriations Howard Webb. Marjory might have lost her lucidity, but Donald remains perceptive. He sees past Frank’s false concern and right through his scheme of buying his vote in exchange for the funding of Alzheimer’s research. The use of Marjory’s illness to coax his support disgusts Donald.
Meanwhile, HEROnymous Bot apprises Lucas Goodwin of the plan he envisioned will gain them access to the highly secure data center that holds the much-coveted phone records that connects Frank Underwood to the deaths of Zoe Barnes and Peter Russo. Lucas is to use his press credentials and ersatz motive of writing an article about cyberterrorism to obtain a tour of the data center where he will then plug a thumb drive into one of the servers. HEROnymous Bot convinces Lucas to perform the deed instead of him, arguing that his attendance of the tour before the breach will immediately make him the prime suspect. The breaking news of the quarantine calls Lucas back to the office, but the eccentric hacker prevents him from doing so. HEROnymous Bot induces Lucas to forego his duty as a journalist that he may walk him through every line of code he will write in order to retrieve the phone records. This ensures guilt on both men when they get caught. Unbeknownst to Lucas, HEROnymous Bot, otherwise known as Gavin Orsay, is working for the FBI. Gavin struck a deal with the FBI by helping them catch cyber criminals in exchange for his freedom. He now reports to Doug Stamper’s friend, FBI Agent Nathan Green, who maintains that his absolute freedom can only be attained with his help in the capture of AV Unit or his friends in DecSec. Gavin is incredulous of the whole cyberterrorism operation established to catch Lucas Goodwin, a journalist inept in coding whom he does not believe to be a real threat.
Connor Ellis struggles to convince the producer to pursue the interview regardless of the absence of the Vice President. The producer had been patient with the delay believing the reward for an exclusive interview regarding the quarantine worth the wait. Claire steps in after sensing the disinclination of the producer to agree to the request to have the interview without the Vice President and the desire to use it as an exclusive recount of the quarantine. Connor cancels the interview after the producer insists on making the entire interview about the quarantine causing the producer to confer with the journalist, Ashleigh Banfield, who is to conduct the interview. Claire gets her demand and sits for a live interview with Ashleigh on CNN. As agreed upon, Ashleigh only spends the first few minutes of the interview on the quarantine of Capitol, the reason for Frank Underwood’s absence. The interview quickly moves on to Claire Underwood, the daughter of wealthy parents, privileged and influential. Sensing that her background does not appeal with the masses, Claire chooses the memory of her visit to Dealey Plaza with her father. It is the place where beloved former President John F. Kennedy was shot. She appeals to the masses with the words of her father about Kennedy, the man who lost his life for making the world a better place. Ashleigh, however, once again challenges her appeal with an insinuation of having agreed to a marriage of convenience citing her father’s generous contribution to Frank Underwood’s campaign. Claire gradually loses control of the interview when Ashleigh catches her with a canned response to the question about their decision not to raise children. The journalist notes having heard the exact answer in previous interviews, catching Claire off-guard. Claire is even more unprepared with the succeeding question, one that insinuated her having committed abortion. Frank, still quarantined at the Capitol, watch closely at how his wife handles the question, while Connor indignantly demands the producer to go on commercial. His petition was rejected. Claire affirms that she had been pregnant and confesses to have had an abortion. The shocking revelation startled everyone and rattled Claire who requested for a break during the interview.
Claire deliberates with Connor on how to handle the questions that will follow her shocking revelation. She reveals to the Communications Director of terminating her pregnancy thrice. Both agree that she should only confirm one especially since the first two were a result of her promiscuity. The third one was no better for she and Francis decided to terminate the unplanned pregnancy they saw as a hindrance to his campaign. Connor advises against continuing the interview, but Claire ignores his advice. Claire resumes the interview with Ashleigh and discusses the circumstances that led to her abortion. She claims to have terminated the pregnancy that resulted in the sexual assault she received from a classmate in college. She did not report the rape out of shame. Claire continues with the enthralling revelation with the disclosure of the rapist’s identity. She declares to have seen her rapist recently after thirty years of not seeing him at a commissioning ceremony. Francis pinned the stars on the man who sexually violated her. She reveals her rapist as General Dalton McGinnis. Claire avows that Francis had always known of the assault, but was unaware of the identity of her assailant. The staggering revelations left Ashleigh Banfield nearly speechless.
At last, the quarantine is lifted. Frank before rushing to his wife vows to give Donald the funding for Alzheimer’s research despite his averseness to vote for the entitlement reform. He bumps into Jackie, who informs him of needing four more votes in order to pass the bill. Seeing the futility of obtaining support for the entitlement reform, Frank moves on to more pressing matters that is his wife’s scandalously revealing interview. He leaves Jackie Sharp to deal with Donald Blythe and his coalition. Jackie instructs her secretary to give her every ream of paper in the office and hauls them to Donald’s office. She claims that the boxes of paper contain the names of every person in America who will lose their benefits due to the government freeze that will follow due to the failure of Congress to vote for the package that include entitlement reform. Donald remains obdurate with his vote, but Jackie convinces him to get four of his people to vote for the package in order to avert a government shutdown. They then will work together on the issues of concern citing that she is unlike Frank Underwood.
Claire ponders the half lie she made. Her rape was true, but it did not impregnate her. Connor is very well aware of the lie, but supports her of the revelation of her rapist. She worries about General Dalton McGinnis’ denial, but a private claiming to have been the victim of the General reduces the doubt surrounding her claim. Claire needs to talk the young woman into agreeing to divulge her identity in order to allow her to make the claim during the interview. Claire promises protection from the Vice President of the United States ultimately convincing Private Megan Hennessey to come forward. Private Hennessey joins the interview and reports of at least three sexual assaults by General McGinnis in her class. Later, husband and wife celebrate their success with a cigarette. Upon Claire’s urging, Francis sings her “Pretty Polly”, a ballad describing the murder of a young woman after she becomes pregnant and the haunting of her killer that led to his insanity and eventual death.
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